CRUEL dog owner Kathleen Smith, who forced her dog to live an “an awful existence,” has been banned from keeping pets for ten years after narrowly avoiding jail.
Smith (55), of Town Street, Canklow, was given a ten-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by making it live in “appalling conditions.”
District Judge for Rotherham, Mr John Foster, described photographs of the animal as “truly shocking.”
Rotherham Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday that Smith had failed to provide a suitable environment in which the animal could live between the end of January and the end of December last year.
The court heard that Smith was visited on December 30 by RSPCA staff, who discovered her cross-breed terrier, Laddie, living in a kennel in the garden, despite the freezing weather.
Mr Brian Osborn, prosecuting, said that the dog, thought to be about 17, had been left in a kennel with a mixture of soil, faeces, urine and old, rotting food on the ground.
12-year pet ban for cruel dog owner.
Laddie’s drinking water was frozen and chicken bones were found in the dog’s bowls.
A vet who examined Laddie—which had never before received veterinary treatment—found the dog to be very dirty, with dermatitis in his pads, pressure sores and stiffness and pain in his joints from chronic arthritis, which would have been exacerbated by the extreme cold.
He estimated that the dog would have been suffering from arthritis for at least two months.
Smith told the RSPCA inspector that she was “always shouting at Laddie to make sure he was OK.”
Mr Steve Smith, mitigating, said that his 55-year-old client had suffered poor health and had been wheelchair-bound for some time after treatment for a benign tumour.
She is also blind in one eye.
Surgery to drain fluids from her spine had affected her mobility and balance and left her unable physically to carry out the work needed to keep the dog in a clean environment.
Mr Smith said: “Mrs Smith accepts that she is in no position to look after animals but she is not a cruel person at all.”
Mr Foster said: “The photographs I have seen of this dog are truly shocking and display clearly that this poor animal received no care and attention over a significant period of time and lived an awful existence.
“We are as a nation accused of putting our animals in front of individuals but this dog required more care.
“You have problems, that’s clear, but all that was required was some care, especially with the weather conditions at the time being bad.”
The 25-year-old was also disqualified from owning any animal for ten years and given a £300 fine, as well as a ten-week curfew order.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “The conditions Laddie was kept in were appalling.
“The 17-year-old dog was tethered in a kennel in Ms Smith’s back garden when I first saw him, surrounded by his own excrement, rotting food and household rubbish.
There was absolutely nowhere dry for him to lay down. His bedding was soaked through.
“The temperature had been below freezing for several days and he was very cold, stiff and in clear pain with untreated arthritis.
“There can be no excusing the conditions Laddie was kept in and the lack of care shown to him. He suffered greatly as a result.”